Welcome! I'm a software engineer in Topeka, KS, and I like blogging about Python and programming in general. I'm the author of several open-source Python libraries, including Peewee ORM, Huey task queue, and lots more. Below you can find a list of my most recent blog posts.
If you don't know what you're doing here, check out some posts I'm not too embarrassed of.
On Monday of this week I merged in the
3.0abranch of peewee, a lightweight Python ORM, marking the official 3.0.0 release of the project. Today as I'm writing this, the project is at 3.0.9, thanks to so many helpful people submitting issues and bug reports. Although this was pretty much a complete rewrite of the 2.x codebase, I have tried to maintain backwards-compatibility for the public APIs.
In this post I'll discuss a bit about the motivation for the rewrite and some changes to the overall design of the library. If you're thinking about upgrading, check out the changes document and, if you are wondering about any specific APIs, take a spin through the rewritten (and much more thorough) API documentation.
The Python standard library sqlite3 driver comes with a barely-documented hook for implementing basic authorization for SQLite databases. Using this hook, it is possible to register a callback that signals, via a return value, what data can be accessed by a connection.
SQLite databases are embedded in the same process as your application, so there is no master server process to act as a gatekeeper for the data stored in your database. Additionally, SQLite database files are readable by anyone with access to the database file itself (unless you are using an encryption library like sqlcipher or sqleet). Restricting access to a SQLite database, once a connection has been opened, is only possible through the use of an authorizer callback.
SQLite provides very granular settings for controlling access, along with two failure modes. Taken together, I think you'll be impressed by the degree of control that is possible.
The other day the idea occurred to me that it would be neat to write a simple Redis-like database server. While I've had plenty of experience with WSGI applications, a database server presented a novel challenge and proved to be a nice practical way of learning how to work with sockets in Python. In this post I'll share what I learned along the way.
The goal of my project was to write a simple server that I could use with a task queue project of mine called huey. Huey uses Redis as the default storage engine for tracking enqueued jobs, results of finished jobs, and other things. For the purposes of this post, I've reduced the scope of the original project even further so as not to muddy the waters with code you could very easily write yourself, but if you're curious, you can check out the end result here (documentation).
The server we'll be building will be able to respond to the following commands:
We'll support the following data-types as well:
- Strings and Binary Data
- Arrays (which may be nested)
- Dictionaries (which may be nested)
- Error messages
Several months ago I was delighted to see a new extension appear in the SQLite source tree. The lsm1 extension is based on the LSM key/value database developed as an experimental storage engine for the now-defunct SQLite4 project. Since development has stopped on SQLite4 for the forseeable future, I was happy to see this technology being folded into SQLite3 and was curious to see what the SQLite developers had in mind for this library.
The SQLite4 LSM captured my interest several years ago as it seemed like a viable alternative to some of the other embedded key/value databases floating around (LevelDB, BerkeleyDB, etc), and I went so far as to write a set of Python bindings for the library. As a storage engine, it seems to offer stable performance, with fast reads of key ranges and fast-ish writes, though random reads may be slower than the usual SQLite3 btree. Like SQLite3, the LSM database supports a single-writer/multiple-reader transactional concurrency model, as well as nested transaction support.
The LSM implementation in SQLite3 is essentially the same as that in SQLite4, plus some additional bugfixes and performance improvements. Crucially, the SQLite3 implementation comes with a standalone extension that exposes the storage engine as a virtual table. The rest of this post will deal with the virtual table, its implementation, and how to use it.
Task queues are frequently deployed alongside websites to do background processing outside the normal request/response cycle. In the past I've used them for things like sending emails, generating thumbnails, warming caches, or periodically fetching remote resources. By pushing that work out of the request/response cycle, you can increase the throughput (and responsiveness) of your web application.
Depending on your workload, though, it may be possible to move your task processing into the same process as your web server. In this post I'll describe how I did just that using gevent, though the technique would probably work well with a number of different WSGI servers.